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The Qantas Chairman’s Lounge program is considered the top rung of Qantas status, above Platinum One, although no amount of actual flying will get you there – it's an invitation-only affair.
And like many other airline VIP schemes, specific details of the Chairman's Lounge and its perks are closely guarded... but we've pulled together what we know to bring you this unofficial guide.
How to get Qantas Chairman’s Lounge status
Once described by Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce as “probably the most exclusive club in the country”, memberships are approved by Qantas Chairman Leigh Clifford for periods of two years at a time, and can be renewed every two years as Qantas’ discretion.
Among those invited: senior-ranking MPs including Ministers, state Premiers and the Prime Minister, leaders of major unions, Qantas Ambassadors such as Hugh Jackman and John Travolta, selected A-list celebrities and some high-profile members of the media.
Other recipients of the cherished black card are senior management at some of Australia's largest companies who spend big on Qantas flights.
Qantas also extends Chairman’s Lounge membership to partners of the above.
It's worth noting that Chairman’s Lounge membership actually sits alongside Qantas Frequent Flyer membership – so a VIP who flies often could be a Chairman’s Lounge Platinum One member, while one who flies relatively little could be Chairman’s Lounge Silver (or even Chairman’s Lounge Bronze).
Where to find the Qantas Chairman’s Lounges
The Chairman's Lounge isn't just a membership tier with impressive perks: it's also a network of actual airport lounges where the elite can cool their heels away from members of the public.
Qantas Chairman’s Lounges are located in six of Australia’s busiest domestic airports – but unless you know where to look you may not even notice they’re there, as they're not always marked by name.
For those who are curious, here's where the domestic Chairman's Lounges lurk:
- Sydney: Tucked away behind a frosted glass door in the walkway between the Business Lounge and Qantas Club
- Melbourne: Through a subtly-marked black door directly opposite from the main Qantas Club reception desk
- Brisbane: Near Gate 23, away from the other two Qantas lounges
- Canberra: On the main lounge level beyond the large ‘private lounge’ bollard found in front
- Adelaide: To the left of the Qantas Club
- Perth: Upstairs, next to the Qantas Club
There aren’t any international Chairman’s Lounges, although thanks to the design of Adelaide and Canberra airports, members can stop by ahead of international flights before going through passport control.
As part of the Qantas/Emirates partnership, access to the Chairman's Lounges is also extended to members of the equivalent Emirates iO (Invitation Only) program.
Qantas Chairman’s Lounges: what’s inside?
We’d best describe Qantas’ Chairman’s Lounges in Sydney, Canberra and Perth as a scaled-down version of the Qantas First Lounge – sans the spa but with dusk green interiors as opposed to the bold reds of the first class lounge.
Photo tour: Inside the Qantas Chairman's Lounge
In Melbourne, expect a more colourful design that better-represents ‘new European’ rather than ‘old London’…
… while the Adelaide lounge is somewhat older in design.
Brisbane’s current Chairman’s Lounge will also be replaced by a brand new lounge, flagged to open in mid-late 2017.
All Chairman’s Lounges offer a la carte dining within a dedicated restaurant zone with some familiar First Lounge favourites...
... along with a buffet tailored towards quick visits and less fussy flyers.
The larger Chairman’s Lounges feature a library with books, doubling as a quiet place to sit and read...
... while all-day alcohol service is available (there's no waiting until noon for the bar to open) plus private meeting rooms, work rooms, iMac computers and ASX stock quote boards in some locations.
Other Qantas Chairman’s Lounge benefits
Chairman's Lounge members enjoy access to the private Chairman’s Lounges and all other Qantas lounges regardless of which airline they're flying with, and can also use Qantas Valet services at the airport when they’re not travelling.
While Chairman’s Lounges often have private and free-to-use meeting rooms inside as well, it’s understood that members can only ‘officially’ bring two guests into the Chairman’s Lounge at a time – so for larger conferences, general meeting rooms are free to use outside of Sydney and Melbourne.
On all Qantas domestic and international flights, Chairman’s cardholders (along with Platinum One frequent flyers) can select from any available seat at any time, too.
That includes the prized 1A in first class; the small three-row business class cabin at the front of Qantas’ Airbus A380; former first class seats now sold as business class on Qantas’ older Boeing 747s; and when stuck in economy, extra legroom seating and the coveted row four on Boeing 737 flights.
‘First Host’ treatment is also available when jetting internationally in any class of service including kerbside meet-and-greet, porter assistance and an escorted walk to the lounge, not to mention a phone call the day before travel for ‘first dibs’ on a spa appointment in the First Lounge.
Chairman's Lounge members visiting Qantas’ 'premium' lounges in Singapore and Hong Kong – which combine all frequent flyers and premium passengers into a single space – find real Champagne is brought out from 'under the bar', and also have priority access to shower suites.
Even more Chairman’s Lounge perks
So what's it like to fly as a Chairman's Lounge member?
For starters, once you're relaxing in the lounge (even the Qantas First Lounge, as there are no international Chairman's Lounges) there’s no need to keep an ear cocked for your boarding call.
The lounge attendants will come and find you when boarding is almost complete, so you can maximise your lounge time.
On board, your elite Chairman's Lounge status is flagged on the iPads given to cabin crew so they know to look after you during the flight. Your preferences are tracked from flight to flight, including favourite wines.
A copy of the Qantas Chairman's Lounge membership guide sighted by Australian Business Traveller also notes that “you’ll be among the first to have an upgrade confirmed” and that members have “access to extra upgrade seats, where available, on Qantas domestic and international flights.”
Also as with Platinum One, when a Chairman’s Lounge member requests a frequent flyer upgrade on behalf of an eligible family member, that upgrade request will be treated with the same priority as though the Chairman’s Lounge cardholder were flying themselves.
Finally, all Chairman's Lounge members receive Oneworld Emerald frequent flyer status which affords access to the best lounges of all Oneworld airlines such as British Airways and Cathay Pacific, plus the usual perks like priority check-in, boarding and baggage delivery.
- Photo tour: Qantas Chairman's Lounge, Sydney Airport
- Inside the secret world of VIP travel and invitation-only lounges
- Revealed: perks of 'The Club', Virgin Australia's secret VIP tier
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